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South Africa 71, Us 32, United States 22, Washington 10, Christiane 9, Johannesburg 8, South Africans 5, Jacob Zuma 5, Obama 5, Clinton 5, Christiane Amanpour 5, Africa 4, Robin Island 4, D.c. 4, Donna 4, Fareed 4, David Cameron 4, Britain 3, Mourning 3, U.s. 3,
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  CNN    The Situation Room    News/Business. Wolf Blitzer. Traditional reporting  
   and online resources update international news. New.  

    December 5, 2013
    2:00 - 3:31pm PST  

where we are now, they are calling a moment of silence to remember and to honor him. he was the most incredible leader for our time, especially as we know, the possibility of violence, of division, of paralysis and partisanship, he really was able to overcome that and his long walk to freedom has benefited the whole world and how ironic it is that the film of his own biography is coming out right now. there are premieres right now, last week in the kennedy center in washington, tonight in london, where his own daughter has been, and there is so much now that is coming out for people to be able to read and to reflect and to pause and remember just what gift this amazing man gave to the world. i interviewed f.w. de clerk, who was his partner in the end and the dismantling of apartheid, one of the world's most violent racist regimes that endured for so long, and i asked f.w. de
clerk what did you think when you first saw him, what was your impression? and he said you know, even though i had been briefed, even though i had done my homework, even though i had been told so much about him, i was staggered when i first met him, the dignity of this man, the physical size, the tallness, the slim bearing that was so proud, really impressed him a lot. their first meeting, he told me, was one just to get together. he had summoned mandela from the prison and they just had a get-together meeting that first time, and then that led to the gradual partnership that dismantled apartheid and brought democracy and freedom to south africa, and showed that actually, majority can rule. wolf? >> a truly, truly amazing man who made such a unique difference to the world, not only to south africa, but to the entire world. christiane, i want to show our viewers a live picture of his home now. people are beginning to gather. this is outside of johannesburg
in south africa. only beginning to pay respects to nelson mandela at the age of 95, who has just passed away. we heard the announcement from jacob zuma, the president of south africa. we want to welcome our viewers who may just be tuning in here in the united states and around the world. we'll have special breaking news coverage of the death of nelson mandela here in "the situation room." we're watching what's going on, christiane and robyn kurnow is in johannesburg watching what's going on as well. we will only now begin, christiane, to get reaction. i'm sure that leaders around the world will want to speak out and pay their special respects to this world leader, from the president of the united states, the leaders in europe, africa, all over the world. it's only just beginning now. >> reporter: that's right. indeed, president zuma paid tribute to how much nelson mandela had been embraced by the world, that he was also the global representation of this relentless and unyielding
struggle for freedom and justice, and he never gave up. i remember, you know, watching him being released from prison from very far away, from here in new york, watching the television, and nobody knew what to expect, the last pictures they had seen of nelson mandela were the black and white pictures of his trial when he was sentenced in 1964, and put away for a long time, and nobody saw him until he walked out that day holding the hand of his then-wife winnie mandela. they raised their fists together and welcomed this freedom. but everybody took this collective sigh, this gasp that look at this man who has been hidden for so long, how handsome, how tall, how good-looking, how gray, how elderly he's got, and i have heard president clinton speak about how he woke up chelsea that morning and he said you know, nelson mandela is going to be freed and this is probably the most important thing that's
going to happen in your life so come and watch the television. so everybody was vested in that moment. i remember it so clearly and so does everybody who was there. >> it was an amazing moment for south africa, indeed for the world. i want to zakaria into this conversation. we are remembering nelson mandela, a world leader who made such, such a change not only in south africa but indeed, he inspired so many people around the world. >> absolutely, wolf. remember, this is a man born in 1918, when the sun never set on the british empire, and lived a long life and was part of a kind of tradition of nonviolent resistance to colonial power and colonial oppression that was part of the indian independence movement. he was greatly inspired by gandhi, by the nonviolent struggle, and that was one of the most remarkable aspects of mandela when he came out after 27 years in jail.
i remember being struck by even his speech pattern. it was like he came out of a different era. he came out of an age when giants walked the world, gandhi, churchill, fdr. he was really part of that world, had just been frozen in a jail for 27 years, but when he came out, it turned out he retained not just the speech patterns and some of the mannerisms and some of the formality, you remember the man who almost seemed to always wear a suit no matter where he went, until he left the presidency. he had this belief that it was very important to set certain standards and he demonstrated it with the truth and reconciliation commission, with the fact there was no vengeance taken of any kind, that he didn't even dismiss most of the people who worked for the great afrikana state and of course, by being south africa's george washington, he only served one
term because he thought it was very important that he demonstrate that he was voluntarily relinquishing power. so that whole trajectory from 1918 to now has been one of leadership by example and leadership of a kind that frankly, we haven't seen for a long time in the world. >> tremendous leader and you know, fareed, you spoke with him, i have spoken with him, he was so soft-spoken but in that soft-spoken manner of his, he was so powerful with his words, with his actions and it was an incredible opportunity to learn from a leader like this. let me read a statement that the former president george w. bush has just issued on the passing of president nelson mandela. laura and i join the people of south africa and the world in celebrating the life of nelson mandela. president mandela was one of the great forces of freedom and equality of our time. he bore his burdens with dignity and grace, and our world is better off because of his
example. this good man will be missed but his contributions will live on forever. laura and i send our heartfelt sympathy to president mandela's family and to the citizens of the nation he loved. i anticipate we will be getting a statement shortly from president obama as well. president clinton, so many world leaders will be, of course, responding and reacting. in fact, i expect to be hearing from the president, there you can see the white house briefing room, they are getting ready for a statement from the president of the united states. the seal is there, now the flags are being installed. momentarily the president will walk into the briefing room and pay his respects and these are live pictures once again we're showing from outside president nelson mandela's home outside of johannesburg. robyn kurnow is in johannesburg for us. she's covered this story for a long time. robyn, i understand that authorities in south africa, they worked out a very, very
deliberate series of commemorative events over the next several days as world leaders will come to south africa. >> reporter: understandably, the focus for most people in the world is going to be here over the next ten days. we expect his funeral to take place on day ten so that is either saturday or sunday a week. we know that in the next three or four days, his body will be taken to a military hospital in pretoria will he will be embalmed. on day five of this series of commemorative events, there will be a memorial service for him in a soccer stadium where the world cup football final was played, and that will be essentially a public good-bye. that will take place here in johannesburg. it's unclear if his body will be there or if it won't be. some heads of state are being encouraged to attend that
commemorative memorial. and then after that, from sort of day six, seven and eight, you are going to see nelson mandela lying in state at the union buildings which is the seat of government in pretoria. his casket will be placed under a dome. it will be very close to the same place where he took the oath of office when he became the first democratically elected president in this country in 1994. he will lie there for three days. the first day will be for vips and visitors coming in from around the world, to come pay their respects. ordinary south africans are expected to line up of course to come and say good-bye to the man they call the father of this nation. then on day nine, so whether that is friday or saturday next week, he will be flown by military aircraft, accompanied by his family to his ancestral
homestead in the eastern cape region. this is where he said he wanted to be buried, where his final resting place is to be. the hills, the rural area where he grew up as a barefoot young boy walking and shepherding sheep through the hills. he had a very nostalgic memory of those times and he very much wanted to be laid to rest there. so the funeral will take place in this grand amphitheater of rural south africa, really not much around there, so expect to see heads of state, royalty from around the world make this incredible journey not just to the southern tip of africa, but to this rural homestead and it's there that there will be a state funeral and he will be laid to rest, we understand, under the midday sun, under the midday sun. what is also important throughout this whole process and it's no doubt also been
taking place in the last few hours as the family held his hand, as they were there, as president zuma said, through those last moments, also who would have been there and will continue to be there until he is laid to rest are his elders, the ancestral -- the keepers of the ancestors, essentially, the deep rural african traditions of his tribe will play a lot and will be played out quoite a lot over the next ten days. what we understand that in terms of a ritual or a tradition that would have already happened, or is in the process of happening, is something called the closing of the eyes. so the elders of his tribe would have been flown up here or are being flown up and they will go through a whole lot of traditional procedures called closing of the eyes, and they will talk to him and they will accompany him and they will explain to him essentially every time he's moved from the home where he passed to the mortuary
and then of course when he takes to that dome where he will lie in state, and then of course that final journey back to his homestead, he will be accompanied by these elders throughout. so there's going to be a real mix of western and african traditions through this, and there is a real sense from the family, from the government, from south africans that they want this to be a farewell that is both a public one and a personal private one for this family, this mandela family that of course has suffered quite a lot. lot of sacrifices. he chose political life over them and he acknowledged to me when i interviewed him recently in the last few years that that was the one thing that even though he didn't regret it, he acknowledged that he had sacrificed his family for the common good. but everyone here in south africa will be thanking him for that, because this democracy really was founded by him, wasn't it. >> could have been such a
different situation if it wouldn't have been nelson mandela who led south africa away from apartheid, away from that racist regime towards democracy. he almost single-handedly avoided what could have been a brutal, brutal blood bath in south africa. an amazing leader. we are standing by, the president of the united states, president obama, about to come out to that microphone over there and make a statement. we know that president obama, like so many leaders from around the world, so deeply, deeply admired nelson mandela. the announcement of his death was made only a few moments ago by the current president of south africa, jacob zuma. >> fellow south africans, our beloved nelson mandela, the founding president of our democratic nation, has departed. he passed on peacefully.
>> jacob zuma making the announcement only moments ago. donna brazile is here. donna, like me, you met with nelson mandela. i know he inspired you. he had a huge impact on your life. give us a thought or two about this remarkable man. >> well, mr. mandela was a warrior. he was one of the most courageous individuals i have ever worked with. he was a champion for freedom. he expanded democracy. he transformed south africa, the african continent, but he was really a leader, someone who was gracious when you were with him in person. back in 1993, i escorted him with one of my friends to the inaugural of bill clinton. he wanted to be here in the united states to witness that moment and of course, later, we all witnessed his inaugural in south africa, but he was a strong man, a determined man,
but somebody who believed in unity, in peace and bringing people together, especially after spending so many years in prison. >> so many people around the world, including in the united states, they struggled to get rid of that apartheid regime and he eventually succeeded together with so many others who worked so hard to do it, and he inspired all of us. >> you know, back in the late 1970s, there were boycotts, of course, boycotting apartheid. many people on college campuses, myself included, we led protests and in the 1980s, we had protests here in washington, d.c. on massachusetts avenue in front of the south african embassy, again, calling upon our country to impose strong stiff sanctions on the apartheid regime to free nelson mandela and to eliminate apartheid. nelson mandela and so many others inspired us to do that. >> let me read a statement from the first president bush, george h.w. bush on the death of nelson mandela. barbara and i mourn the passing
of one of the greatest believers in freedom. we have had the privilege to know. as president i watched in wonder as nelson mandela had the remarkable capacity to forgive his jailors, following 26 years of wrongful imprisonment, sending a powerful message of redemption and grace for all of us. he was a man of tremendous moral courage who changed the course of history in this country. barbara and i had great respect for president mandela and send our condolences to his family and his countrymen. once again, i want to remind our viewers, we are standing by to hear from president obama. he will be walking into the briefing room over at the white house, going to the microphone and speaking about a man he so deeply, deeply admired over so many years, president of the united states will pay official respects to nelson mandela and what he did. christiane amanpour is watching the reaction pouring in. we shouldn't be surprised, 95 years old, christiane, we were all bracing for this day. it has now happened. >> reporter: yes, i think people
were dreading this day. people obviously were bracing for it. you know, we had a terrible scare about his life and his health back in march. people thought that he was, you know, had departed or was close to departing back then. luckily, he didn't. he has obviously been very well looked after and his last days and months have been surrounded by his family but there was a very big scare and everybody is dreading it because you know, who next, who next, who matches this kind of leadership, this kind of courage. this kind of transformation of a man and a politician who started as a lawyer, who was a boxer, even, before that, who was then a freedom fighter who then went to jail, who had to decide at one point and he had long conversations with his people, should we, you know, should we question whether our peaceful tactics are in fact working, do we perhaps need to go to more violence. i remember that was a very, very major, major concern.
in fact, lots of people called at that time the anc terrorists and when he came out of prison, when he said i say to you all, take your guns, your knives, your pangers and throw them into the sea, fully declaring in his first -- practically his first public address after 28 years of being in the wilderness in prison, no, this has to be peaceful. this was huge and then you know, you heard president zuma say this is the father, the founding father of our democratic south africa, and you heard robyn talk about the tribal homeland where he lived and the rural area where he's going to be finally laid to rest, and i think i will never forget the pictures not just of the snaking lines of hundreds of thousands of millions of people in the towns and the cities who cast their ballots for nelson mandela in 1994, but the helicopter shots of the countryside, when people were literally lining up in
zigzag lines so quietly, so peacefully, so joyfully, just to have the privilege of casting their first ever vote in 1994, this majority black country, they had never had that right before and they stepped up to the plate. there was not single violent act that day and they ran out of ballots, they had to have a second day of balloting. i remember there was an s.o.s. that went out, we need volunteers, we need help, people came, the south african air force deployed helicopters, cargo planes brought extra ballots. it was dramatic, the fact that they pulled that election off, all his people say was a miracle given the odds. >> a miracle indeed. i remember, christiane, just as a reporter going to south africa in the '80s during the brutal apartheid regime when i walked around and saw how black people were treated, i remember coming back to the united states simply disgusted by what was going on. it was only a few years later when i went back to south africa, nelson mandela was the
president and i interviewed him in the presidential residence in capetown and it was a remarkable moment in my journalistic career, and then a few years ago when i went back to south africa, when they had the world cup soccer football games there, it was truly amazing to see how the country progressed peacefully, democratically thanks to this man, nelson mandela. he could have been bitter and angry but he was a wonderful, wonderful inspiration. here in washington, this is a live picture we're showing of the south african embassy here in the nation's capital and the u.s. capitol, there's a statue of nelson mandela that has been lit. it's there all the time for all visitors to washington, d.c. to see. the president of the united states about to make a statement there in the white house briefing room, paying his respects, the respects of all americans to nelson mandela. the former u.s. ambassador to the united nations, andrew young, who knew nelson mandela
well, who understood what he meant not only for south africa but indeed, for the world, andrew young is joining us on the phone right now. your thoughts on this sad day. he passed away, ambassador, at the age of 95. >> you know, i think that we don't think of it as a sad day. we think of it as a day that he transformed into -- on into eternity. if there's anybody that laid a foundation for peace and good will toward all men, women and children, it was nelson mandela. and he refused to let hate make him hate. he overcame all of the fears and insecurities of a white minority and he almost nurtured them back to -- into a feeling of brotherhood. you talked about the soccer world cup, but i was there for the rugby world cup depicted in
the film of "invictus" and he literally took on the task of uniting the country. nobody black liked the spring box and he put on a jersey and hat and walked throughout the black community and he said these are our boys and we've got to rally behind them. and he really willed that team to victory and in willing that team to victory, he helped unite the country. he was a phenomenal individual who insisted that his jailor be seated with his family at his inauguration. and everything he did was about reconciling differences. and he understood and bishop tutu says there's no future without forgiveness. that's the south african message, that whatever has
happened in the past must be past and we must go on and find a way to live together peacefully and prosperously as brothers and sisters. >> is there something special, we're awaiting the president, he should be making a statement in about a minute or so but very quickly, ambassador young, is there one concept, one thought you want to share right now, what americans and others watching us should think and recall about nelson mandela? >> well, his spiritual presence was far more important than his physical suffering, that it seemed as though the more he suffered, the stronger he became spiritually. and i don't know -- i didn't know him before he went to jail but i knew many of his colleagues, and the one thing that impressed me always about south africa was that he was not
the only one that had this spirit, that there was a spirit of reconciliation that was a part of the body politic of southern africa, and i think we can build on that in the world. >> i think we can. as i say, that is obviously very, very well said. ambassador young, stand by, because the president of the united states is about to walk into the briefing room and make a statement. this is a powerful moment for him personally, for the first lady, for so many americans who are watching what's going on and who recall the struggle of nelson mandela and the people of south africa for freedom, for democracy, for a new way of life. this is a man who spent nearly 20 years on robin island. i was there in 1998 when a former president, bill clinton, visited robin island together with nelson mandela. i had the privilege and honor of interviewing nelson mandela in capetown the next day and it was amazing to me, donna brazile is watching as we await president obama, donna, it was amazing to
me that he showed, even though he had been at robin island the day before, where he had been so brutally treated for so many years, no bitterness, no anger. he said we need all south africans, we need all south africans to work together because this can be a great country. if we fight each other, the whole country will be destroyed. >> you know, he believed when he left robin island that it was time to bring people together -- >> hold on, donna. here's the president of the united states. >> at his trial in 1964, nelson mandela closed a statement saying i have fought against white domination and i have fought against black domination. i have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in
which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. it is an ideal which i hope to live for and to achieve but if need be, it is an ideal for which i am prepared to die. nelson mandela lived for that ideal and he made it real. he achieved more than could be expected of any man. and today, he has gone home. we have lost one of the most influential, courageous and profoundly good human beings that any of us will share time with on this earth. he no longer belongs to us. he belongs to the ages. through his fierce dignity and unbending will to sacrifice his own freedom for the freedom of others, he transformed south africa and moved all of us. his journey from a prisoner to a
president embodied the promise that human beings and countries can change for the better. his commitment to transfer power and reconcile with those who jailed him set an example that all humanity should aspire to, whether in the lives of nations or our own personal lives. the fact that he did it all with grace and good humor and an ability to acknowledge his own imperfections only makes the man that much more remarkable. as he once said, i'm not a saint unless you think of a saint as a sinner who keeps on trying. i am one of the countless millions who drew inspiration from nelson mandela's life. my very first political action, first thing i ever did that involved an issue or a policy or
politics was protest against apartheid. i would study his words and his writings. the day he was released from prison gave me a sense of what human beings can do when they're guided by their hopes and not by their fears. and like so many around the globe, i cannot fully imagine my own life without the example that nelson mandela set. and so long as i live, i will do what i can to learn from him. to his family, michele and i extend our deepest sympathy and gratitude for sharing this extraordinary man with us. his life's work meant long days away from those who loved him most, and i only hope that the time spent with him these last few weeks brought peace and comfort to his family. to the people of south africa,
we draw strength from the example of renewal and reconciliation and resilience that you made real. a free south africa, at peace with itself. that's an example to the world. that's his legacy to the nation that he loved. we will not likely see the likes of nelson mandela again, so it falls to us as best we can to follow the example that he set, to make decisions guided not by hate, but by love, to never discount the difference that one person can make, to strive for a future that is worthy of his sacrifice. for now, let us pause and give thanks for the fact that nelson mandela lived, a man who took history in his hands and bent the arc of the moral universe
towards justice. may god bless his memory and keep him in peace. >> there he is, the president of the united states, paying his personal and the country's respects to a great, great man, nelson mandela, who passed away on this day at the age of 95. nelson mandela, who single-handedly almost made such a unique difference in the transition from a racist apartheid regime in south africa to freedom and democracy and he inspired by doing so the entire world. that's a live picture from outside the south african embassy here in washington of the statue of nelson mandela. fareed fareed zakaria and christiane amanpour are watching with us. christiane, i assume the president of the united states will want to go to south africa. in fact, i assume there will probably be more leaders gathered in south africa in the coming days than perhaps at any
funeral that has occurred recently. >> reporter: i'm sure that's absolutely true. you just cannot get away from the specter of the first american black president paying tribute to the first south african black president. i know that president obama met mandela. he didn't, this last time he went to south africa, because he was so ill and he wanted to respect the feengs of the family and he didn't go to see him. but clearl you c tell how could it be any other way that obama was so incredibly and heavily influenced and inspired by the struggle of nelson mandela. >> fareed, your thoughts after hearing the president of the united states. >> one of the things, wolf, that president obama reminded us was that this was one of the great moral causes and political causes of the 1980s and '90s. you remember it well and we have forgotten now, but it was one of the great rallying causes on
college campuses around the western world. it was even true in asia. it was a cause that really was global in a way that very few were, because it was such a sore, a cancer, on global society, the idea that you had this white minority regime treating african blacks almost like slaves and this extraordinary system of institutionalized serfdom that was apartheid. obama reminds us that he, like many, many people, spent some time protesting against it, probably did so when he was in high school, possibly at columbia, and that world has gone away but one of the reasons it has gone away and gone away in such a kind of harmonious way is because of nelson mandela, because when he came out of jail, he made a decision that he was going to reach out in a
hundred small ways and some very, very important ways. i remember talking to a south african, somebody who was there at the time who pointed out that the new ministers in mandela's government had been told they couldn't fire anyone, you know, who represented the old apartheid system because mandela had said the whole old order stays intact. think of that when we think about what's happened in iraq, what's happened in all the post-soviet states when the new guys come in, the new regime comes in, they wipe out the old. mandela represented something very different and so from the protests of the '80s to the forgiveness of the '90s, it's a story. >> these are live pictures we're showing our viewers, fareed, from outside of the mandela home, outside of johannesburg right now. people hearing this sad news that nelson mandela has passed away, they want to pay their personal respects. these kinds of moments will
continue now over the next ten days. robyn curnow is joining us from johannesburg. i know that a lot of us who lived through that era, and i was in south africa in the '80s covering that story, i remember vividly visiting some of the townships, the black townships, meeting very educated, sophisticated, intelligent black people but who were living in horrible conditions and simply being disgusted coming from the united states watching what was going on in the 1980s and seeing the dramatic change that happened only a few years later in the early '90s. remind our viewers about what has changed in south africa over a relatively short span. >> reporter: well, it's nearly 20 years since democracy here, in 1994 when mandela became the first black president, and just remember, apartheid was a brutal regime but it was made up of lots, hundreds of petty little
laws that all together created this racial monster so black people couldn't come into the towns to stay, to live. you know, there was a real sense of two separate nations. nelson mandela along with many of the anc and other political parties all created the environment by which this was broken over the decades. it didn't take a short time to do. it was years and years and years of protests and of defiance. here's a life that is remarkable. started in 1918 at the end of the first world war. let's take a look at the life, the legacy of nelson mandela. nelson mandela's struggle for freedom defined his life. he was born in the remote hills of south africa's eastern cape.
he was given a name which means troublemaker. he was only given the name nelson by a school teacher later on. after moving to johannesburg and studying law, mandela's troublemaking politics began. as a boxer, he became adept at picking fights and sparring with the apartheid authorities which had increased its oppression against the black population. it was then that mandela made the crucial decision to take up an armed struggle, launching the african national congress' armed wing. he was a militant and a firebrand, burning his passbook, a dreaded document the authorities used to control the movement of south africa's black population. >> the africans want to franchise on the basis of one man, one vote. >> reporter: that simple demand and the methods mandela took to fight for democracy eventually saw him and others tried for
treason and sabotage by the apartheid government, acts punishable by death. but they got life imprisonment instead, banished to robin island, one of the country's most brutal and isolated prisons. another political prisoner remembers the first time he saw mandela in the prison yard. >> i could see from the way he walked and from his conduct that here was a man already stamping his authority on prison regime. >> reporter: mandela was released 27 years later. >> i have spoken about freedom in my lifetime. your struggle, your commitment and your discipline has released me to stand before you today. >> reporter: and his lack of bitterness towards the apartheid
authorities helped him to lead one of the most remarkable political transitions of the 20th century. mandela, the trained lawyer and life-long rebel out-maneuvered the apartheid leaders, and he steered south africa's peaceful transition to democracy. he won a nobel peace prize together with his former enemy, the apartheid leader, f.w. de clerk. >> i devote myself to the well-being of the republic and all its people. >> reporter: then he became south africa's first black president in 1994. >> so help me god. >> what marks mandela's career as president more than anything else is after five years he stepped down. there have been very few presidents in south africa who have ever given up willingly. >> don't call me. i'll call you. >> reporter: his retirement years were busy with
fund-raising for charities close to his heart. he celebrated his 90th birthday with much fanfare. and told cnn in a rare interview that looking back, he wouldn't do anything differently. >> i don't regret it because the things that have threatened me were things that pleased my soul. >> reporter: now those who loved and respected him look to his legacy. >> if we want to learn from him, learn that life is not made up of straight victories. it's made up of mistakes, zigzags, stumbling, picking yourself up and dusting off the dirt, treating the bruise and walking again forward. that's what mandela is. >> reporter: robyn curnow, cnn, johannesburg, south africa.
nelson mandela, the fighter, the man who never surrendered to a brutal racist regime, who remains steadfast during 27 years in prison, has eventually given up. he's gone. everyone here in south africa will be saying good-bye. >> not only in south africa, but all over the world, people will be saying good-bye to nelson mandela for what he did for the people of south africa, what he did for all of africa, indeed, what he did around the world. christiane amanpour is with us. i understand you have a special guest to discuss this special day. >> i do, indeed. the remainformer south african president, f.w. de clerk. mr. president, thank you for
joining me. >> hello, christiane. it's a sad day, sad moment, but it's good to hear your voice again. >> well, thank you, sir. please tell me and tell the world what you feel at this moment beyond the sadness and what you can say about the man who became your partner and you became his under extremely difficult circumstances to transform your country. >> first i would like to say that i fully associate myself with the dignified and feeling statement which president jacob zuma has made. every word of what he said is true and he touched my heart. nelson mandela's biggest legacy was his commitment to reconciliation, was his remarkable lack of bitterness and the way in which he did not only talk about reconciliation
but he made reconciliation happen in south africa. he was a remarkable man and south africa notwithstanding political differences stands united today in mourning this great, special man. >> sir, what -- walk me back to when you summoned him from the prison, when you first met him. why did you do that? what was going on then and what did you think of him when he came into your presence the first time? >> that first meeting that we had was intended to get a feel of each other, because it was already clear then that there would be negotiations. it was already clear that he would be released. no dates were fixed, no specific announcements were made, but he
had been talking even in the time of my predecessor through four important role players within the government and the national party, having talks about talks, discussing the possibility of negotiation, not talking about the real issues which would be negotiated about later on, but exploring the possibility of negotiation. and both of us after that first meeting wrote in our respective autobiographies that we could report back to our constituencies i think i can do business with this man. there was an immediate, i would say a spark between the two of us and notwithstanding the many spats we had later, i always respected him and i always liked him as a person. he was a magnanimous,
compassionate person. he was not only a man of vision, a great leader, but also a very human, human man. >> in the end, you both won the nobel peace prize for that work, for bringing democracy to south africa, but there you were, the white president of a minority regime and this towering moral figure came into your presence. what did you feel when you first saw him? what did he look like? >> i was -- i studied a lot about him and i was briefed by those who were speaking to him while he was still in prison, but he impressed me tremendously. he was taller than i expected. he was ramrod straight. he looked one in the eye very directly. he was a good listener. i could immediately see that he had an analytical approach to discussions which i liked very much.
i was very much impressed with him at that first meeting. >> and his close associates said that throughout his time in prison as the years went on, he knew that you had to get into the mindset, you had to understand the mindset of the white man. he obviously spoke afrikans, he learned all those languages and he knew you as well as he knew himself. >> it's absolutely true. i would agree with that. i wasn't there to hear it myself, but from what we know of nelson mandela, i can understand that and i accept that. in the end, we would not have had successful negotiations if from both sides and from other sides, this attitude of understanding the concerns of your interlocutor and making
effort to accommodate those concerns. this, he did in a marvelous way with the concerns of my constituency, and we also from our side tried to understand the concerns of him and the anc and to accommodate those concerns, and all this resulted in a remarkable compromise through a process of give and take. >> indeed, the compromise continued with the truth and reconciliation commission. this is a majority which could have been baying for justice, baying for blood and nelson mandela said no, we are going to have a truth and reconciliation committee. did that impress you, the way that he was not out for blood, not out for vengeance? >> absolutely. there is no question, as i said earlier, that his biggest legacy was his emphasis on reconciliation. his emphasis on what he used to
say south africa is there for all its people, black, white and all south africans should feel at home. he was a great unifier and a very, very special man in this regard, beyond everything else he did. this emphasis on reconciliation was his biggest legacy. >> president de klerk, thank you so much. it's very late your time. thank you for giving us the first reaction to the passing of your old comrade in arms on the road to democracy. thank you very much indeed. wolf, going back to you now, not forgetting, wolf, that it actually was the united states, the people of the united states, all those people on college campuses, all the people that ambassador andrew young told you about, who struggled against apartheid and insisted on the sanctions and divestment over
the objections of the then reagan administration, and that had a massive effect of concentrating the minds of the apartheid leaders at that time. >> it certainly did. f.w. de klerk remembers those days, he was the president of south africa and he helped make that transition when he saw the handwriting on the wall, and then as you pointed out with him back in 1993, both he and nelson mandela shared that nobel peace prize. we just got a statement, christiane, in from former president bill clinton on the passing of nelson mandela. let me just read it to our viewers, because he truly did love nelson mandela. today, the world has lost one of its most important leaders and one of its finest human beings. hillary, chelsea and i have lost a true friend. history will remember nelson mandela as a champion for human dignity and freedom, for peace and reconciliation. we will remember him as a man of uncommon grace and compassion, for whom abandoning bitterness and embracing adversaries was not just a political strategy but a way of life.
our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and to the people of south africa, all of us are living in a better world because of the life of madiba, the life that he lived. that was a clan name, his traditional name. he proved there was freedom in forgiving, that a big heart is better than a closed mind and that life's real victories must be shared. donna, donna brazile is here, nelson mandela, the civil rights movement in the united states, what was going on in south africa, you and i are old enough to remember those days, the role and as christiane accurately points out, that all of us played in trying to move south africa in a better direction. you remember those days very vividly. >> well, the apartheid regime was a brutal regime. it was a violent regime. and the goal of folks in america, especially young people, was to educate, was to mobilize and to get more sanctions, to get corporations
doing business in south africa to put pressure on the south african government. clearly it worked, because after years and years of struggle, finally in 1990, we broke the apartheid regime but it was a long and brutal struggle. >> here's a picture, take a look at this. give us the background of that photo. >> mr. mandela came to the understand to attend the clinton inaugural. he was very close for the clinton family. in fact the clintons visited the mandelas early this year and last year, and when secretary of state clinton visited south africa before she left office, but he wanted to participate. he wanted to know more about how we ran campaigns here. he wanted to be part of the celebration, because he had a great deal of respect. and i was with my friend yolanda caraway to escort him to the inaugural ball. he wanted to see the city. >> former president clinton --
tweeted i'll never forget my friend madeiba, and you can see the love there. david cameron, the prime minister of britain is now speaking. i think we're going to try to fix that audio. once we do, we'll hear david cameron, the british prime minister. he's paying his respects over in london right now once we've fixed that technical problem, we'll hear what he has to say. he's paying his respects. i want to show our viewers some video. february 11th, 1990. right now a very, very special day. this is nelson mandela released from prison after 27 years. almost 20 of those year at robin
island, brutal captivity. he was amazing, because shortly after, donna brazile, as you're watching this video of mandela leaving that prison and beginning a political, i guess, a revolution in south africa, a peaceful revolution, so many people thought it would be brutal and violent. because of this man, it was peaceful. >> he said if you want to make peace with the enemy, you have to work with the enemy. you have to become a partner. he believed in reconciliation. he also believed that the nation itself could draw strength from seeing him work with president declerk. so mac denna became a symbol of hope to bring that divided nation, you know, together at a time when most people didn't think it could. >> so many people will want to go to south africa, donna, to pay their personal respects. i assume over these next ten
days of the official memorial, if you will, and they've plotted out certain steps every single day they will be taking to remember nelson mandela. so many folks will just want to be there and live through the next ten days. >> i talked to the ambassador patrick gaspar, the u.s. ambassador. >> i said you better open up some extra bedrooms. clearly there are so many people in this country who knows the mandela family, they're friends with him. i think of people like stevie wonder, harry belafonte, oprah winfrey. many, many others who clearly have worked with nelson mandela, worked with the foundation to continue his legacy. i'm sure they will want to be a celebration. it will be a celebration of his life. let's listen in. these are live pictures from jo nance burg. ♪ nelson mandela ♪ nelson mandela
♪ ♪ ♪ [ chanting ] [ chanting ]
let's go to robyn kurnow, she's watching all of this going on. robin give us some background. these folks are really excited. they're paying their respects to a great, great man. >> the words of that song that you heard them singing over and over again, it's been sung in the last six months across south africa. nelson mandela, nelson mandela, there's no one else like you. there's not much else to say, is there? it's an old antiapartheid struggle song. this song has carried through generations of activists in this country. it was no doubt illegal during
the apartheid days. it was like a rallying cry to nelson many della when he was locked up in jail. nobody was seen his face. there was a sense he was cut off from the revolution. it became a war cry, a lament, it became a memory for people to sing over and over against the same words -- nelson mandela, nelson mandela, there's no one like you. in the last year particularly we've seen the call kind of a call of thanks. it was sung a lot outside the hospital when these night vigils like this emerged when he was battling that lung infection in opt for three months. it really has become such a simple acknowledgement of a man whose life was so great, so extraordinary, and as barack obama said, it was the arch of history that defines his life. also what i think is key about his images that you're seeing on
your screen now is that it's a mixed south africa. you can see white people, black people, young and old, who have come to pay their respects. that's been so key to nelson mandela. you'll hear it over and over again. it might pseudoa bit trite, the issue of reconciliation. i cannot overemphasize, the symbol of him, the small acts that he knew would have great consequences, that every act that he did by looking someone in the eye, by thanking them, by making sure they were included, by making sure the zulu nation was not alienated. theater cal acts on the grant theater of politics. but he was really a master of acknowledging that small acts can have great consequences. you see it now, because every single person in this country will be there today, whether they're physically there or
whether they're singing that song in their hearts and their homes by themselves. and they know it, there's no one like him. >> when i was there a couple years ago, robin, it seemed to me -- you lived there, but you have a much better sense all those vestiges of apartheid were gone. people were going into restaurants, on buses, doing everything together. give us a sense of how the country is today. >> reporter: some africa is complicated, complex rich country of diversity. i think nelson mandela recognized that very early on. there are 11 officials languages. there are still huge discrepancies between white and black, particularly between rich and poor. one of the biggest gaps between rich and poor in the world here. so there really is a country grappling with what it is and what it's become, but fundamentally, this is a democracy, and it's a country where even though people have
differences, they acknowledge that everybody has a right to be here. i think the spirit of mandela still very much pervades through ordinary people's lives. he's become sort of a cheerleader, even though out of the political arena for many years now, i mean, he really is a symbol, a vision of what this country has become and what it can become, because of course there's still a lot of work to be done. no doubt the country he inherited in 1994 was a broken, dark desperate place. he really acknowledged this need to be attuned to differences, which is what his wife told me once. he really understood how to bring different people together. again, i know when i've spoken to his family, they say that harks back to his deep love and understanding of tribal politics. he grew up in those rural areas, listening to the elders, to the
chiefs sit under a tree and discuss problems. he became very good at listening and understanding differences, and then he would get this big tent approach and bring people in. he was a very, very smart, wise visionary leader, and i think that is also what's key when we look at the greater picture, and the personal picture of nelson mandela. >> robyn kurnow, stay with us. the continued coverage resumes right now. and the sad breaking news, the death of an iconic leader, nelson mandela who became the nation's first black president. we heard the current president of south africa, jacob zuma announce nelson mandela's death a little while ago. >> fellow south africans, our
beloved nelson mandela, the founding president of our democratic nation, has departed. he passed on peacefully. jacob zuma, the current president of south africa. nelson mandela died today after a very long illness, the nobel peace prize leader was a in the fight against apartheid. he was branded a dangerous revolutionary, spent 27 years behind bars. his historic election as president of south africa in 1994 was an inspiration in the battle for racial equality around the world, and the once controversial freedom fighter became a beloved figure around the world as well. president obama explained how he personally was influenced by nelson mandela.
>> we'll not likely see the likes of nelson mandela again, so it falls to us as best we cuss to forward the example he set, to make decisions made not by hate, but by love. never discount the difference that one person can make. to strive for a future that is worthy of his sacrifice. only moments ago, the british prime minister, david cameron, said this -- >> tonight one of the brightest lights of our world has gone out. nelson mandela was not just a hero of our time, but a hero of all time. the first president of a free south africa, a man who suffered so much for freedom and justice, and a man who through his dignity and through his triumph, inspired millions.
the strongest impression of all, when you met him, was of his extraordinary compassion and generosity and forgiveness. tonight families across britain will mourn with his family, and everything in south africa. your greatest son has moved millions, and i believe that his inspiration for the future will be every bit as powerful as the extraordinary things that he achieved in his remarkable life. thank you. the british prime minister david cameron, like so many world leaders, paying his respects, his country's respects to this great leaders nelson mandela who passed away today at the age of 95, after a very, very long illness. cnn is using its global resources to bring you team coverage of this legendary leader, his life, his death,
around the world. robyn kurnow, christiane amanpour, fareed. tell us -- it's 1:00 a.m. in south africa, but people are in the streets paying their respects. >> reporter: they are, and they're sings that anti-apartheid song, nelson mandela, nelson mandela, there's no one like you. just like nelson mandela himself, south africans are pretty pragmatic. they have known at least for the last six months he was gravely ill. when you have spoken to people some of the supermarkets or there was another health care, i think a lot of south african say let him go, it's time, father needs to rest. i think there's been a slow railroadsization in this country it was inevitable and the time was going to be soon. so i think you won't see huge
outpourings of trauma or, you know, over-emotional. i think you will see south africans quietly gracious, quietly thankful. i think you they will sing songs. south africans sometimes sing their way through the saddest of times. so you will see these images of people coming together. it might look like they're celebrating, but that's the way it's done here. there's a sense this is going to be a community effort, a community, a village is going to send nelson mandela home. that village is more than 40 million south africans. they will come together and will do it with dignity. i think they will do it with a great sense of thankfulness. let me bring christiane amanpour into this situation. your thoughts as we are just beginning to go in depth and appreciate nelson mandela. >> you know, we've waited for this moment for a long time.
there's been this watch over his health for months and months and months now, and many south africans, as robyn said, were expecting this sat day. nonetheless you could see how president zuma was choked up. several times he stopped when he was describing the founding democratic society africa passed on, departed peacefully. you can see the joy on the people's faces, also, outside his house just as the pictures show they are reflecting what he reflected on them throughout his entire time with the people of south africa. he was this incredibly happy presence. it's unusual for a politician to have that relationship with people. for me, i guess, you can only be in awe, like everybody has said up until now, because it is not an exaggerate and not a cliche. these towering figures come along once in a lifetime, not even a lifetime. once in many lifetimes.
he is the giant of the 20th and 21st century. as president obama said and others, the world has changed. he was able to come out of the prison after 27 years, knolls a prison, but as a part of the majority of the population of south africa that was being oppressed for decades by the minority. he was able to transform from being a lawyer to a political activist, to being a rebel and a warrior and a prisoner to a really consummate politician, who was able to see the big picture and came out and understood the story of the other. learned after afrikaan, and created peace, and all we have to look back is the phenomenal pictures, heart-stopping pictures, if you look back at pictures from 59 el '94.
truly awe-inspiring. millions came out for their first democratic election. it was peaceful, and it was just the best civic action of democracy that we've ever seen. it was an amazing moment in south africa, and they have basked in that. >> i'm going to bring fareed back in a mom. donna brazil is here, and as we see the reaction coming in from all over the world, give me a thought. what did -- you met nelson mandela personally. we have a picture of you with him. what did he mean to you? >> he was inspirational, a man of courage. he once said courage was not the absence of fear, but action in spite of it. he really led by example. i think that's one of the legacies we will always remember about madiba, madiba being his clan name, his traditional name. there's a picture, donna, of you
right there. fareed zakaria, is it overly naive to hope and pray that maybe the death of nelson mandela will inspire some of those world leaders out there, to do the right thing, to recognize that bloodshed and warfare will not achieve much, that peaceful relations perhaps can better by achieved through dialogue and discussion and hard work, as opposed to war? >> it is naive, wolf, and you probably know that as well. you know, they say that difficult times throw up great leaders. it's true if you think about world war ii and the depression, it produced these great larger than life figures. mandela came out of those time, the hardship of apartheid, 9 brew tality of it. but the thing we forget is that it doesn't always mean they'll
be great reconciliations. there will be people like gorbachev, who were able to take the soviet union and do away with the bad, but couldn't really build the good. he had a kind of political genius, aside from the moral courage. i was reflecting, wolf, you were showing the videos of him, for example, embracing fidel castro. i remember when he came out of prison and elected in '94, everyone wondered, what is this guy going to do? because the countries that had supported the african national congress, that had supported, you know, the anti-apartheid movement were cuba, gadhafi, arafat, these revolutioniaries. was le going to teak south africa as a rogue nation? what was interesting, he steered south africa as being part of the world community, pro-western, very much part of
the democratic world, but at the same time he stayed personally loyal to the people who had supported the struggle for 27 years while he was in prison and for decades beyond that. so he had that way, that genius of figuring out how to steer the country in the right direction without completely forsaking your friends, without losing some of the things that gave you the fire. so that kind of genius i don't think we have right now anywhere. >> it's an excellent point when you think about the impact he had, fareed, and the way he led by example. you know what? i am being naive if i think in his death he might inspire world leaders to behave as he did, and understand that recriminations and violence, civil strife not going to achieve much when all is said and donnell. in the end there's a peaceful way of moving forward. fareed, you expect that almost all of the world leaders will be moving forward, and so many of
them will go to south africa to pay their personal respects? >> i think you're exactly right, wolf. i think this will be on the order of the funeral of winston churchill, the funeral of john kennedy, where you will see, i would guess, upward of 50 heads of state. i would imagine president obama will make every effort to go, and, you know, the way this works is once people realize who is going, it has a snowball effect. i think this will be very big. stand by, joe johns is joining us right now, our correspondent. joe, you covered nelson mandela in south africa. give us your thoughts. >> reporter: i covered him in south africa as well as here in the united states when he traveled here. he was just a fascinating man, to be in his presence. the sense that this was a man who had been through so much, had no spite, and had such a big heart that he was able to forgive even his jailers, i think, was probably the most remarkable thing about him. i traveled will, as you did, i
believe, wofd in 1998, when president clinton went to south africa, and then here in washington, d.c., the one that's most memorable, of course, was the state dinner that president clinton had for president mandela. even at that time, the closest i ever got to him was to take a few pictures of friends in the presence of mr. mandela. he's had an enormous influence in washington, d.c., starting, of course, with the protests against apartheid that caused members of congress and mince sisters, so many others to be arrested over the years, and to watch that transformation in south africa, and to see him lead that country through what the people referred to as the change, from the majority white rule to the majority black rule is just a fascinating process, even though at sometime it was very, very difficult for south africa. >> it certainly was very painful. he was an amazing man.
joe, stand by. we have with us here in washington ibrahim razuhs. south africa as ambassador to the united states. let me express all our condolences to the people of south africa on this loss of your great leader, mr. ambassador. tell us what this moment means to you. >> i think there's a personal moment and then national moment. at the personal level, i think we are all deeply shocked. i think we've been expecting it, but that does diminish the personal shock and the national shock i'm sure we will absorb over the next few days. i think he represents probably that the finest or country, our continent, maybe even in the world, is capable of producing. it challenges us to reach within our better selves, and we need to make an effort to live up to that standard. at the moment of great grief is also a moment of great challenge to us to rise to the occasion
and to emulate him in whatever way we can. >> as we know, he was 95 years old, very gravely ill now for at least a year in and out of the hospital, lung indianafections. you have prepared your country, your government for what is going to happen over the next ten days. share with our viewers here in the united states and around the world what we can expect in south africa. >> i think in south africa we've already had the announcement of ten days of mourning. i'm not sure it's enough, but that certainly will allow us to make the most of putting on a dignified funeral for nelson mandela, to give the nation and all its diversity an opportunity to express grief, to give leaders the ability to absorb the enormity of the loss and how to recover nelson mandela in each of us. i think it is a way to prepare the world to be able to converge
it's not as if if we want to sanctify, but to share a bit of that personal lesson of what leadership is in a troubled world day that we'd like to share with the world. if heads of state are able to come and we want to make it comfortable for them to come, we believe that is the way in which not only to pay tribute, but to draw lessons. >> you would like president obama, other world leaders if they want to come, to come to south africa and pay their personal respects? >> from having accompanied president obama to the prison on the island earlier this year, i know the as well as the people of the united states would want to be represented. after all, it's the citizens of the united states that have played such a significant role in the overthrow of apar tight in the release -- on the birthday of nelson mandela, 22 states across the united states
mobilized in order to say happy birthday to him. we've had the unveiling of the statue on massachusetts avenues outside our embassy. i think the people of the united states would expect a senior level of leadership at the funeral. your country, i assume is ready for that kind of moment when so many world laters, may more than we have seen in recent years, attend the funeral of a great person. >> i think that's the amount of love and administration and respecti think our country will, despite its grief, be able to receive the world with great dignity and i am sure that no amount of preparation will be able to manage the sheer numbers of people. we had the experience of world cup 2010 behind us. i think we have shown we can put on the security and logistics
needed, but i also think we have a responsibility to also allow the people of the united states a way to pay their respects. the embassy, the whole team will be focusing over the next few days how to memorialize him. how we can give people of the united states an avenue in order to pay tribute. it's also ironic that this happens at the moment when the long walk to fry dom begins to take root across the united states and gives people an inside into the life of nelson mandela. >> mr. ambassador, i want to go to jim acosta. he's at the white house getting more information. what are you learning, jirm? >> reporter: we can tell the people watching us right now, we do expect president obama to travel to south africa for the memorial service for nelson mandela, hearing that from a source familiar with that kind
of planning, and in just the last several minutes, don't really have anything more on that, about you as you heard the president saying in his brief remarks just a few moments ago, obviously nelson mandela is one of his heroes, somebody who touched president obama's life when he was a young man in occidental college many years ago, the first political act as a young man was to go to an anti-apartheid rally. that stayed with president obama all through his life. nelson mandela was sort of always with president obama, and as you heard in the white house briefing room, he said nelson mandela is no longer with us, he is with the ages. president obama tried to visit nelson mandela over the summer when the president was traveling across africa. he was not able to do that, because nelson mandela was sick, but he was able to visit with the civil rights and
anti-apartheid icon back in 2005 when barack obama was a member of the united states senate, and that was a meeting that has always stayed with p.m. many of the as a matter of fact arier this month he held a screening of a movie on nelson mandela's life here at the white house, where he also met with mandela's two daughters. today he's gone home, lost one of the most inspirational, courageous, that any of us will share time with on this earth. >> the president of the united states speaking out. we've got some other guests, but mr. ambassador, you're here, you just heard jim acosta sources
are now saying the president will go. the state funeral is on day ten of this period of mourning, the final day, right? that's when you expect most world leaders, ten days from now to come to south africa? >> if the class is right, i think they may make some adjustments to that program, and certainly i think that we will really be laying out all the arrangements at the memorial, whether the funeral is private is another matter, but i certainly would think we would want that kind of tribute to be paid. mr. ambassador, police stay with us. our viewers of the united states are grateful to you for sharing this time on this special day. senator tim scott is on the phone, the only african-american senator in the united states senate. senator, what did nelson mandela mean to you? >> wolf, he was an iconic figure
and transformational leader. i think of some of the writing that he said when he was in prison. one of the thoughts that always stuck with me. he learned humility in a time when most of us was becoming bitter, he was becoming bert. it's remarkable, as i think through 27 years, a third of his adult life, behind bars, having lost his freedom, he never lost his freedom to think. those are things that stuck with me. i can't get his quote exactly right, but when you have an objective in life, and you want to concentrate on that objective and not on your enemies, a part of why i think he was so transformati transformational and these are lessons that i think are just timeless and that i need to remember for myself. one of the other things he seemed to be famous for is, instead of trying to change the world, perhaps we should start
by changing ourselves. that may be the fastest way to change the world. >> as a young man growing up, i assume you w567d him, learned from him, and he inspired you? >> absolutely. when i think back to the lines during that presidential race, when i think back to the time when he was running for many, those lines that were just hours and hours, thousands and thousands of people, it spoke to me that his hue millity had struck a cord throughout his nation, and he had become perhaps the most powerful person of that time. i was excited for the country. i was excited about the man having spent 25 years behind bars could experience the absolute opposite of what he experienced in jail, which was freedom and the ability to set other free, which think is the
market he would have left on earth. >> well said, senator tim scott. thank you very much. these are live pictures from johannesburg. nelson mandela's home, where the people of south africa, black and white, they are remembering this great leader, and we're remembering nelson mandela. our special coverage here in "the situation room" will continue right after this.
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we're bringing you the breaks news, or special breaking news coverage here in "the situation room" of the death of nelson mandela, the first black president of south africa. a nobel peace prizewinner, certainly a great inspiration for the entire world, as a champion of freedom, civil rights and democracy. the current president of south africa announced the death of the 95-year-old mandela, calling him the country's greatest son.
>> our prayers are with the mandela family. to them we owe a debt of gratitude. they have sacrificed much, and endured much so that our people could be free. >> jacob zuma speaking only a little while ago, the president of south africa. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer here in washington. these are live pictures from outside the home of nelson mandela, outside johannesburg. the folks are gathering there, and they're paying their respects in the south africa traditional way. nelson mandela spent 27 years in prison in a very difficult journey that led to the end of south africa's accept of racial segregation and to his historic
election as president of south africa. stand by for more reaction around the world on the death of an iconic leader. tony player the former british prime minister is joining us on the phone right now. what did nelson mandela mean to you? >> well, when i first became prime minister in 1997, he was an extraordinary father figure, a mentor. and later when we put africa in the center of the world stage, in 2005, and a whole series around debt cancellation, he was a complete inspiration, the person that i think more than any other person in the late 20th century represented the triumphs of the human spirit over adversity, the quality of forgiveness, the ability to
unify people of different races and colors, backgrounds, and with this extraordinary -- of and common humanity. i think that's what -- what he really did was he -- he managed to create a situation in which people overcame past differences and conflicts, problems they had, generations in some cases. what he represented was that able to overcome the past in creating a better future. >> tony blair, the former prime minister of britain, thank you for sharing some thoughts on this special day. once again those are live ticket furse from johannesburg, where people have gathered outside the home of nelson mandela to pay their respects. donna brazil is